Bloor Street Viaduct

From Academic Kids

Bloor Viaduct
The Bloor Street Viaduct, or simply the Viaduct, is the popular name of a bridge that spans the Don River Valley in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, crossing over the Don Valley Parkway and Bayview Avenue as well as the river. It connects Bloor Street, on the west side of the valley, with Danforth Avenue on the east.

The official name of the bridge is the Prince Edward Viaduct; in still more precise usage, this term also includes a smaller bridge carrying Bloor Street over the Rosedale Ravine, and the embankment built at the same time to connect the two.

The bridge was completed in 1918; it is 490 meters long and 40 meters high. A feature of both the main bridge and the Rosedale Ravine bridge, controversial at the time for cost reasons, was the provision for a lower deck for rail transport. The bridge's designer, Edmund Burke, was able to have his way, and this eventually proved to save millions of dollars when the TTC's Bloor-Danforth subway, opened in 1966, used the bridge to cross the Don Valley (but not the Rosedale Ravine, where a separate bridge was built). In addition to the river, highway and road, a major railway line, electrical transmission line, and bicycle trail all pass under the bridge spans.

The construction of the bridge was used as a setting for the historical fiction of Michael Ondaatje's novel In the Skin of a Lion.

The Viaduct was the site of frequent suicide attempts. The viaduct has been the site of over 400 suicides, second only to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. A 1997 report from the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario cited the average of one person jumping from the bridge every 22 days. After years of controversy, the bridge's reputation as a "suicide magnet" eventually led to the construction of a suicide barrier called the Luminous Veil. Designed by architect Derek Revington and completed in 2003 at the cost of $6.5 million, it consists of over 9,000 steel rods stretched to cantilevered girders. In consequence, the Bloor Street Viaduct has lost its ranking as the second largest suicide magnet to the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, Quebec.


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